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Friday, June 29, 2012

Orange Is The New White In Golf?

There are times when a golf company really steps outside of the box. They’ll do something completely unpredictable, and totally out of character. They might even catch us completely by surprise. Friends and loyal readers, this most certainly IS NOT one of those times.
If you haven’t been working off the assumption that Cobra would eventually release a Rickie Fowler-influenced Orange driver, you haven’t been paying attention. Son, it’s time you get your head in the game. The Orange AMP became a forgone conclusion the day Rickie Fowler signed his name on his Cobra contract.

A History of Limited Editions

When it comes to releasing Limited Edition stuff, this isn’t exactly Cobra’s first rodeo (or snake-charming show). Even before they acquired Cobra, PUMA had basically made a habit of releasing limited edition golf shoes (anyone remember Geoff Olgilvy’s Gold PUMAs from the 2007 Masters?). And while TaylorMade is the company most often associated with white drivers, it was Cobra (all the way back in November of 2010) that actually released the first White Driver (a Limited Edition ZL). Last season, as you may remember, brought us the release of the Limited Edition 48″ Long Tom Raw (the first RAW driver).
So when you consider COBRA’s history (particularly the more recent, post-acquisition history), the growing popularity of Rickie Fowler, the strong association Cobra has developed with the color orange, not to mention the Trademark Cobra filed back in May for orange on the crown of a driver, you’d honestly have to be the wrong side of simple (no offense) not to have seen this bright orange Cobra driver coming.

Special Edition AMP Driver…The Juicy (Orange) Details

Before I fall too much in love with the sound of my own keystrokes, let’s take a quick look at the pertinent details of the upcoming Special Edition Orange AMP.
  • It’s orange. The Head, The Shaft, The Grip…Save the black PVD sole, EVERYTHING is orange
  • It features the same head as the original AMP (except for the orange thing)
  • It comes stock with a Mitusbishi Diamana Whiteboard shaft (the same shaft Rickie plays…except this one is orange). Let’s call it the Orangeboard.
  • It will be available in 9.5° and 10.5° degree models in stiff and regular flex (slightly odd since Rickie actually plays an 8.5° in X-flex…supply and demand is a bitch)
  • It will be available August 1st, and is going to cost you $499
If you find any of this even the slightest bit puzzling, here’s what COBRA has to say about the whys behind the release of an orange driver.
“This Special Edition driver embodies what COBRA Golf is bringing to the game of golf, a desirable package of performance, innovation and style. We are building on the success and strong performance of our current AMP line with an exciting limited edition that will resonate with Rickie’s fans. Like Rickie, we believe the Special Edition Orange AMP Driver will be a huge hit and continue to build desirability for the COBRA brand.” – Bob Philion, President – COBRA PUMA GOLF

How Well Will it Sell?

For the one or two of you who might still be a little confused, let me see if I can’t break this down to the raw pulp, and put it terms you can understand:
While not quite mid-90s Michael Jordan, Rickie is huge right now (and only getting bigger). The “Orange thing” is catching on. It might not be for everyone, but you can be damn sure it resonates with more golfers than not. And these new orange drivers..hold on…you’re going to want to write this down so you don’t forget I said it…
“COBRA-PUMA’s Special Edition Orange AMP drivers are going to sell out faster than front row tickets to a cat fight between Kate Upton and Sophia Vergara”. – GolfSpy T
How do I know people are actually going to pay $500 for an Orange driver? Firstly, people (more specifically golfers) will buy ANYTHING (especially if it’s “Limited”). Secondly, there is a huge market for all things Rickie right now (how else would you explain golfers suddenly descending on their favorite courses dressed like bags of Cheetos?). Finally, there’s some proven history with these type of special releases. Limited Edition ZL…gone. Limited Edition Long Tom Raw…sold out. PING’s Bubba Watson inspired pink G20…sold out before it hit shelves. My guess, the Orange AMP does the same.
Before any of you start moaning and groaning about the price, you need to consider that a standard (non-orange) Cobra AMP driver with a real Diamana Orangeboard Whiteboard shaft retails for $487, $500 for the Special Edition Orange (with a real Whiteboard Orangeboard shaft), seems plenty reasonable to me.

The Party is Still Going at COBRA-PUMA

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my first 2 trips to the annual PGA Merchandise show it’s that there’s always a party at COBRA-PUMA. Since escaping Titleist’s shadow, the company has quickly established a culture that seamlessly blends serious golf equipment with a laid back, and genuinely fun approach to the industry. It’s actually kinda awesome.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’m going to go full Fowler and dress head to toe in Sunday orange while bagging the new Special Edition AMP Driver, but I might….and even if I don’t, I’m absolutely going to celebrate those who do.
We all talk about growing the game. For that happens, it needs to be fun, and more than anybody else in the industry, COBRA-PUMA would seem to understand that. Even if you don’t like the Orange, you’ve gotta love the spirit of fun that inspired it.

Tell Us What You Think

Would you play the new Orange AMP? What do you think about the new culture at COBRA-PUMA? Let us know!

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